Life After Graduation

According to a Gallup Purdue Index from 2014, if an employed graduate had a professor who cared about them as a person, one who made them excited about learning, and had a mentor who encouraged them to pursue their dreams, the graduate’s odds of being engaged at work more than doubled (Gallup Purdue Index, 2014). A large portion of graduates, 59%, who experienced all three are engaged at work, compared to 30% who did not have any of these experiences. Only 14% of all college graduates strongly agree that they had support in all three areas. If employed graduates feel their college prepared them well for life outside of college, the odds that they are engaged at work increase nearly three times.

Experiences in college that contribute to students’ feeling prepared for life after college include internships, jobs, extracurricular activities, organization and working on a semester-long project.  In these experiences, students are able to apply what they learn. Colleges can give students the knowledge and experiences that help them prepare for future careers, while educating them on how to identify and seek out workplaces that further foster engagement.

An interesting finding from the Purdue Index shed light on how the effects of certain powerful college experiences can be felt years, and even decades, after graduation. College students, their families and the American public all expect college to be a transformative experience that leads to great jobs and great lives. However, all too often, that is not the case. Higher education has the power to change that.

Improving the college experience should focus on ways to provide students with more emotional support, and with more opportunities for deep learning experiences and real-life applications of classroom learning. By taking action, colleges and educators can enhance the experiences and engagement of students, so the benefits are reaped far into a graduate’s career and lifelong journey of upward social mobility.

Intended Consequences

  • Student Success
  • Clarified Career Goals
  • Increased Graduation Rates
  • More Effective Transition into the Workplace
  • Life Long Learning
  • Social Mobility
  • Making a Difference!
  • Higher Levels of Satisfaction
  • Engaged Campus